I’m sorry hostels. I really, really am. Over the past couple of months, I’ve stayed at a number of acceptable, clean, fun, and unique hostels in Turkey, Italy, Mongolia, China, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. I’ve spent time in party hostels, in apartment hostels, and hostels that are more like hotels. We’ve felt like a part of the family in Mongolia where the hostel was actually a home, and in Tomsk where 3 Russian ladies cooked us up a traditional borscht dinner… in our hostel!
Oh, but nothing really compared to the moment when I first set foot inside Soul Kitchen Jr. in St. Petersburg, Russia — a hostel that literally opened a few weeks ago.
Hostels of the world, I love you all for who you are, but when it comes to Soul Kitchen Jr., there is just no way for me to not gush forth oodles of “bests” and “favorites”.
It started when I walked in the door. Wow. Oh, wow! This place is so nice!
My eyes hit the Portuguese tile on the entry way (specially imported by Lyuba for accents), then the giant couch of the lounge, the stacked suitcases by the window seat, the eclectic light shades, and further around to the reception desk, all done up in colors and shades of rustic age. If I had had my way, I would have set up a bed right there in that hallway and called it home, but little did I know…
Little did I know that the private rooms would look like this:
Yes, that is a loft inside the private room. A loft! How cool is that? You can share it with a friend and still have plenty of space between you, and the little perks take the cool factor up about 10 notches. On each side of the bed(s) are multiple plug outlets, and a lazy light switch! Forget to turn the light off before you get comfy in bed? That’s OK — the switch next to you does the job as well.
Fancy a view? Our private room had a clear view of the river… and right from the bed.
Little thing I loved: Lots of private rooms — and private rooms that can sleep up to 5 if necessary. It’s great for groups and couples that want to avoid dorm rooms but still want the hostel vibe.
The reality of the thought and effort that went into this new hostel became apparent when Lyuba took us around for a private tour:
When a hostel can accommodate up to 70 people, you need to have a kitchen that can handle the traffic. The kitchen here is big, open, and oh-so-friendly on the eyes.
The seating is abundant, with heaps of chairs that were made vintage-y by Lyuba and her husband themselves!
Little thing I love: I love how they’ve kept many aspects of the old building in the new. An old wood beam has been restructured to create the big light fixture in this room. The old wood doors have been cut and kept to make the sides of the reception and computer room desks. An old sewing machine has been turned into a desk and coat hook. Old tiles have been used for mosaics and accents in other places. A dingy retro bathtub has been repainted and used as decoration in the bathroom. I love every bit of their resourcefulness and style.
Little thing I loved: The brightness of the main lights throughout the entire hostel can be controlled at reception. It is because of this that you don’t have to worry about being blinded by bright dorm room lights at 3am because reception has turned the brightness down long before.
Little thing I loved: The rooms have secure doors with key card entry.
It’s the little things that make it special:
(In case my 100 photos weren’t enough…)
Lyuba and her husband are young and fun. After running another successful hostel across town, they decided to take it further — incorporating as many ideas as possible that would make an awesome hostel. It shows, people, it really shows.
And this post doesn’t even talk about the free wi-fi from multiple routers, the decent amount of bathrooms, the space, or the helpful staff.
You can check them out and make a booking for Soul Kitchen Jr. on Hostelworld.
**My stay at this hostel was provided free-of-charge thanks to a partnership between Hostelworld and Soul Kitchen Jr., but all thoughts are my own.